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Clergy and Celebrants
If you decide to have a funeral, memorial, or graveside service, you will need someone to conduct it. A member of the clergy is most often used if the deceased has a religious background. A non-religious service can be officiated by a layperson known as a celebrant, funeral home personnel, or a family friend.
If your loved one adheres to a particular faith tradition, but is not affiliated with a particular congregation, you’ll need to find a member of the clergy to perform the funeral. While religious services are still the most common, the use of celebrants is growing. Like clergy, celebrants provide guidance and support during the planning process, and then administer personalized funeral services, eulogies, and tributes. They can oversee the entire process or work in conjunction with members of the clergy to create a uniquely memorable service.
Whichever option you use, sit down with the one officiating so he or she can become more intimately acquainted with your loved one. There’s nothing worse than attending a memorial services in which the person speaking obviously didn’t know the deceased. Share your loved one’s interests and hobbies, what contributions he or she made to the world, favorite music, literature, poetry, and Scripture, and what he or she loved most about life. It’s also nice to share humorous or especially touching anecdotes. This information will make the service much more personal.